Wrapping Up the Holidays
In the Spirit of Giving
Sayville High School Students Wrap Up the Holidays for Every Child’s Dream
It looked like Santa’s Workshop, but it was the Sayville High School cafeteria. The sound of paper unrolling from their cardboard cores, the snipping of scissors, the snap of adhesive tape, and the chatting voices of the students mingled to create an dynamic atmosphere of merry purpose—wrapping presents for the 535 children who, along with 125 adults, are expected to attend the Every Child’s Dream Dinner event this week.
Many outside community groups have donated time, materials, and talents to make the Every Child’s Dream an extraordinary experience for the underprivileged, but for the past four years the venue has taken place at Sayville High School. And every year the High School community puts heart and soul into their efforts that contribute to the success of the whole.
The Student Government, under the leadership of advisers Katherine Van Dorn and LynnAnn Perlin, coordinated the clubs, toy donations, and coat drives, to prepare for this festive event. Again this year, the Art students, working with Art Teacher Jennifer Berotti, painted beautiful holiday scenes on the windows and hung decorations to transform the space. Each day afterschool (sometimes until 9 p.m.), the high school students and advisers from all the student clubs held “wrap sessions” that not only ensured there would be enough presents under the tree, but helped them discover the true meaning of the holiday spirit. In addition to the gifts, the students and staff sorted through bags and bags of gently-used coats that were donated during the coat drive for distribution at the holiday dinner.
When Santa makes his annual visit with the dinner guests this year, many student volunteers will also be on hand, some dressed as elves to assist Santa and others to provide music, singing, along with fun activities and games for the children after their delicious dinner.
“This opportunity truly embodies the spirit of the holidays,” High School Principal Ron Hoffer observed about the heartwarming event. “Our faculty, students and staff work collaboratively to help other members of our community during the holiday season. The benefits of our Holiday Dinner go far beyond helping our guests. It has become a tradition we all embrace and enjoy.”
Each year, Every Child's Dream Dinner is fulfilling on so many levels, not just for the recipients, but also for the many individuals involved in the preparations. Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find you gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.” How fortunate are the Sayville students to feel the truth of these words as they volunteer, not only for Every Child’s Dream, but also for a variety of community service events throughout the academic year.
Photos courtesy of Jim Elder, High School Security, who was kind enough to take photos because he “thought the kids were awesome and deserved for everyone to see what they do for this event.”